PHILADELPHIA — Sonny Milano was in ninth grade when he entered a contest run by Bauer asking fans to create a video explaining how they would change the game. In his Long Island basement that was built with a hockey rink in mind, the 14-year old showed off his hockey skills in impressive fashion and ended up winning a pair of skates.
He followed that up last month with another video during the NHL scouting combine. That one, however, didn’t win him any skates.
On Friday night, Milano was selected by the Columbus Blue Jackets no. 16 overall and is eager to take those skills to the NHL -- but a stop at Boston College comes first. Playing for the Eagles has been a childhood dream for the forward out of the U.S. National Team Development Program.
“Seeing skill players like Johnny Gaudreau have success kind of gives you hopes that maybe I can have success,” he said. “They’re always a top team. They’re always contending for a national championship and Jerry York is a great coach as well. He knows what he’s doing.”
A big Islanders fan growing up, Milano’s family had season tickets at Nassau Coliseum. When he was 15, he moved to Cleveland, just two hours from Columbus, and his billet family were big Blue Jackets fans. He never did get to a game at Nationwide Arena, but he watched them plenty of times on television.
Milano’s stock didn’t rise or fall much during this season where he posted 29 goals and 86 points. He didn’t let the talk about where he might end up going in the draft to bother him during the year. He let his play do the talking.
“Maybe at the start of this year or maybe when I went to the NTDP and you start comparing yourself to other players in the country. You never knew ‘oh I’m a first rounder’, but maybe you thought about it a little bit."
“I really didn’t try to focus on that too much, just try to focus on your game and this will handle itself.”
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- Sonny Milano